It's Never Okay
There is no easy way to define the act of cyberbullying, but it
is commonly thought of as repeated, online harassment, with the
intent to cause harm to the victim. There are many types of
cyberbullying, all of which can cause varying degrees of distress.
Some of those being,
- Harassment – Repeatedly sending offensive messages to a target.
- Cyberstalking – Intense harassment and denigration that includes.
threats. Harassment becomes cyberstalking when the victim fears
for their safety.
- Denigration – Derogatory comments about a target.
- Exclusion – The purposeful exclusion of the victim, usually
from a chat room or group.
- Impersonation – The impersonation of the victim online.
Despite taking place online, Cyberbullying can still involve physical threats. As well as this, the feelings of the victim also remain very real. Cyberbullying causes much more harm than people know, and victims are often targeted for things they cannot control.
In a 2014 teen internet safety survey, conducted by The Futures Company, 61% of teens who report
being bullied online say that it was because of their appearance. This is followed by intelligence
at 25%, racism (17%), sexual discrimination (15%), financial status (15%),
and religion (11%). One fifth falls under ‘Other’.
There have been many attempts to prevent cyberbullying in the past, all of which we can learn from
today. According to a survey of 627 teens aged 12 to 17 in September of 2020, published on the
44% of teens have had a negative online experience in the six months prior to the survey, with more
than 80% taking some sort of action after-the-fact. Three quarters of these teens wanted more online
safety information presented through either their school (43%), a trusted eSafety website (40%), or
from a parent or carer (38%).
This really shows that there is a demand for more information about the dangers of cyberbullying,
and that is needs to be readily accesible to anyone seeking help.
If you or someone you know if being cyberbullied, there are some clear steps you can take to help
diffuse the situation.
First is to tell a trusted adult or friend, it is important to know that you never have to deal with
Next, collect evidence. Take screenshots, photos, make sure to write down the what, when, and where.
Third is to report it. Often the simplest way to get cyberbullying removed is to report it to the
website it took place on. Most social media sites have terms-of-service rules that allow posts or
comments to be removed if any evidence of harmful behaviour is found. If it has not been taken down
within 48 hours, and the type of cyberbullying is against the law, it can be reported to the eSafety
Commissioner at https://www.esafety.gov.au/report.
Once you’ve reported the cyberbullying make sure to do everything in your power to prevent further
contact. Many apps or websites have ways to block specific accounts so that their messages cannot be
seen. Use these functions to distance yourself from the bully.
Last is to look for further help. Talking the experience through with someone is one of the best ways
to start to feel better. It could be a friend, family member, or even a helpline service, talk to
whoever you feel comfortable with.
- kids help line: 1800 55 1800
- Reachout -https://au.reachout.com/